Notre Dame Justified In Ending Their Pursuit Of Mike Elko

The man said yes.

Upon hearing the news former defensive coordinator Mike Elko was on his way to Texas A&M for the same position, the initial reaction for many, myself included, was Notre Dame let him get away. The implication was Notre Dame wasn’t willing to pony up the money to retain their hire from a season before.

But, as more details emerged, that showed not to have been the case.

Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune reported last Thursday Mike Elko had agreed to a new deal with Notre Dame that would pay him about 1.5 million per season. That would put him as the third highest paid assistant coach in the nation, behind only Dave Aranda at LSU, and Brent Venables at Clemson. It’s hard to say Notre Dame wasn’t willing to pay what’s necessary when they were willing to go top 3 for a first year head coach who achieved very good results in his first season, but also didn’t light the world on fire. His unit also faltered some in the final month of the season, but it just wasn’t as glaring as the struggles on offense.

The defense fell from 337 yards per game and 4.7 yards per play to 401 yards per game and 5.4 yards per play. They also saw significant drops during the final five games in points per contest (15 to 25), sacks(19 to 5), and turnovers gained (18 to 2).

Notre Dame was substantially better in a lot of ways throughout the season that don’t show up on stat sheets, improved tackling and being assignment sound for example, so I don’t want to make it seem as though it was smoke and mirrors in the first two months. But, it’s fair to point out the defense, like the offense, saw a drop in play while the team overall struggled.

This all matters in the context of Notre Dame deciding whether or not it was worth it to renegotiate the contract for a third time and make Elko the second highest paid coordinator in all of college football. Especially when Elko had already said yes to a new deal.

Elko Agreed To A New Deal

The most significant detail in the Hansen story is Elko had verbally agreed to a new contract with Notre Dame, for an aforementioned 1.5 million per season. Business is business and I think most people can understand that. Nothing is done till something is signed, something we see in recruiting all of the time, so Elko is free to do whatever he thinks is best for him and his career.

But, it’s certainly understandable why Notre Dame would balk to renegotiate again when A.) they’ve already given Elko a raise to make him college football’s third highest coordinator and B.) he’s already said yes to that deal. This isn’t a situation where Notre Dame made a bid and A&M made a bid, and Elko chose the higher bid. Elko agreed to the terms Notre Dame made. Then he went back to Texas A&M. That is something that would give anyone pause, business decision or not.

Where does this end? If Notre Dame matches, does A&M make it 2 million? 2.3 million? How invested is Elko in coaching at Notre Dame if he is just going to the highest bidder?

Another thing to consider is whether Notre Dame is going through the same thing next year, not just for other coordinator positions, but a head coaching position. Also, this would be a heck of a precedent to set for another high level coordinator who comes along, whenever that might be and whoever the head coach is. At some point it’s necessary for Notre Dame to say “we offered a deal and a raise, and you said yes, you don’t get to come back and ask for more after you’ve made an agreement.”

Elko Isn’t The Only Coach On The Block

Elko was a good hire, no question, and no one wanted him to leave. There was panic and stress for good reason. But, it’s important to remember he’s not the only one who knows how to coach defense, and it’s time for Kelly to make another good hire, because this is a part of his job description. When you hire good coaches, they leave, for a variety of reasons.

Kelly probably didn’t imagine he’d be looking so soon, but that’s the way it goes. It’s incumbent on him to find the right coach for the situation and move the team forward.

But, as for this situation and the way Elko was handled. It’s hard to find fault with how Notre Dame handled it. After all, the man said yes.

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105 comments

  1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

    Did that catch at the end of the Vikings game remind anyone else of the Citrus Bowl catch? Strange. It’s something you never see actually work, then you see it twice in as many weeks!

    Tillery will be a household name in American football well before this time next year. Smart move on his part all around. Get that man some insurance (if that is still allowed by NCAA).

    BGC ’77 ’82

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  2. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago

    Tillery to return for Senior season.

    https://247sports.com/college/notre-dame/Article/Jerry-Tillery-to-return-for-senior-year-113671045

    Still waiting on Coney decision.

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    1. duranko 2 years ago

      Michael, this is massive. I want Coney back too, but Tillery would have left a disaster on the DL. Now they can use tagaviloa, Hinish and Ewell in the two deep until Ademilola and Franklin are ready. Dew-treadway and Tiassum are soybean filler, nothing more. One would CONJECTURE (ever dangerous) that Ademilola and Franklin would be more ready to play than Hinish and Myron.

      But we need FOUR defensive tackles in the ’19 recruiting class. Nothing less.

      Coney would stabilize the LBS and one could conjecture, with the returning talent, that each of the position groups:

      DL
      LB
      S/Rov*****
      CB
      would have more talent experience and depth than the ’17 version.

      ***one would expect the safeties to improve the most

      Plus they have real game and 10game winning experience in the 4-2-5.

      Could be fun.

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      1. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago
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    2. duranko 2 years ago

      One other thing with coney back, this will give some added time for development of Lamb, Bauer, Oghoufo and, I hope (slim) Tuliapupu

      Noted dim bulb Tom Loy talked about a three man tackle rotation. What a numbskull. To be great (think GA, Bama, Clemson, Ohio State) you have to have a five man tackle rotation and five at DE.

      That’s the minimum to play with the big guys.

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    3. southside 2 years ago

      MTA , thank you for the breaking great news I awoke to this morning at 5am .

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  3. duranko 2 years ago

    And Seven early enrollees are scheduled to arrive on campus today, Sunday, Jan. 14th.

    Lot of lumber and athleticism at linebacker with Lamb, Oghoufo and Bo Bauer

    Griffith is added to the secondary.

    Tall George Takacs to the TE corp

    Micah Jones, a faster Miles Boykin, rolls into the WR cadre.

    And JahMir Smith will mesh with Autry Denson at RB.

    that ain’t bad

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  4. duranio 2 years ago

    And Seven early enrollees are scheduled to arrive on campus today, Sunday, Jan. 14th.

    Lot of lumber and athleticism at linebacker with Lamb, Oghoufo and Bo Bauer

    Griffith is added to the secondary.

    Takacs to the TE corp

    Micah Jones, a faster Miles Boykin, rolls into the WR cadre.

    And JahMir Smith will mesh with Autry Denson at RB.

    that ain’t bad

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  5. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

    C-Dog,
    It’s always been easy to tell that you’re from the ND family. As for the historic mission of ND, well, it was founded by French priests to serve socially oppressed Irish (and other) Catholics in what was then an ethnically French community, as part of an American missionary effort. America, last I heard, is still classified by the Church as a missionary land (though that might have changed recently). The mission of the Public Relations, Fund Raising and Development Offices was, and I think still is, “To bring Notre Dame to the world, and the world to Notre Dame.”

    Is winning a football championship an important part of that mission? Well, that’s debatable, I suppose. It may surprise some of you to know that I think it is an important part – but for historical and social reasons, not intrinsically. Notre Dame was here carrying out its mission before football was invented, and will certainly be here long after football is an afterthought for the species. But in the meanwhile, our players and coaches need to continue building on the achievements of this year – and win a NC…as long as we play the game, we ought to win at least one NC per generation…and that hasn’t happened.

    Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

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    1. C-Dog 2 years ago

      Bruce,
      I love what you just wrote. Yes. And that’s why it’s important for Notre Dame fans to always keep in mind that just winning isn’t enough. It’s how the Irish win. That means how Notre Dame runs its program. Individual athletes should not be put a pedestal, but should on the whole be applauded for how they conduct themselves as citizens and in the classroom. The reason to try to win a national championship is to promote a higher bar of ethics in sports and beyond.
      But you also touched on the other reason Notre Dame Football was important which was to show that bigotry can be overcome not by whining or lowering the bar but by achievement. That story can be told today and Notre Dame could tell that story if it can win some championships.

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        C-Dog,
        And if we win the right way, we are valuable to the mission. If we win like everybody else wins, we are simply like everybody else! What is gained for the Lady on the Dome by that?

        Guys like David, and BJ before him, are right when they say that ND winning big ratifies a whole bunch of stuff that ND has always stood for – a relentless pursuit of excellence in life as well as on the field especially comes to mind. Showing the “true spirit” of Notre Dame (something Coach Holtz was consumed with) also comes to mind. The difference between us on this is that I happen to think BK has taken his players some huge steps in getting back to that kind of place. Is there more to do? Yes, for sure. In 1929 (I think it was), Rockne played every game on the road…and won every game! We have not exactly been road warriors lately, and we will never see the playoffs if we don’t fix that. The Citrus Bowl was a great start on that.

        What sticks in my craw though is people who don’t give these guys and coaches the credit they are due for the endless hours of hard work they put in WHILE keeping up their studies to ND levels of satisfaction…and they are not ball room dancing. Speaking for myself, I had to devote all but 1 hour at lunch per day (when I was either in the PIT playing B-ball, or at Mass at Sacred Heart) every day, all year long (I always took two summer session courses) just to get my 3.3 as an undergraduate! I don’t know how those guys and gals in any of the sports do it! They are some of the finest people this society has ever produced…and in the longest of views, not the most shortsighted, cranking them out year after year to serve God, Country, and Notre Dame is the essence of the mission. And yes, we crank out a “misfire” (even a miscreant) now and then…but the results, overall, speak for themselves.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  6. Ron Burgundy 2 years ago

    Quenton definitely thought LONG and HARD about staying…AGAIN.

    I will bring you back to the day after the Echo Awards over a year ago when Q faced the very same decision. After listening to the people who really knew what they were talking about tell Q that he needs to leave, that there were very few good QB’s in the 2017 draft, even fewer good Offensive Lineman and that he would definitely go anywhere between the late teens and mid twenties, it was Brian Kelly’s turn to tell Quenton why he should return to ND for the 2017 season.

    I can tell you in all honesty that we sat before a very tired and humbled head coach who began our discussion by taking full responsibility for the horrific season that was. He took his time listing all of the mistakes and faults he felt he personally had made, and in great detail, before even attempting to give Q a reason to return. He encouraged Quenton to come back and get his degree but more importantly he wanted Q to return to work on his leadership skills and become a larger part of a Notre Dame football program in which he promised “huge changes” and where “no stone would be left unturned”.

    I don’t believe anyone can really appreciate the vast amounts of the strategic thinking and self reflection that Brian Kelly had to have made… in a very short amount of time… to transform the heart and culture of this team. But, as for Q, fortunately he had a front row seat.

    From brutally honest player exit interviews and the early naming of vocal team leaders, BK had to get rid of the demeaning, under performing coaches (some of whom he had long personal ties to) and identify AND hire the “right kind of guys” like Long, Elko, Balis, and Polian who wanted to actually recruit and teach student athletes at Notre Dame. Coaches who would get totally in your face one day, but more importantly have their arm around you the next.

    BK then had to get these new coaches all on the same same page to hold together the 2017 recruiting class together, while building an even stronger class for 2018. The Balis winter program was pure hell, but welcomed by a group of players wanted to put the travesty that was the prior season behind them. There were SWAT teams, over the top competitions and individual player accountability that reached out far beyond the weight room in the Gug.

    BK turned to technology to monitor sleep and practice performance, hired Dr. Selking to help provide a psychological edge and a more simplified and consistent message between his staff and the players. There was a deeply rooted belief that thoughts control emotions which controls response and dictates performance.

    All of these new coaches, new offensive schemes, defensive schemes,staff members, ideas and initiatives and just a few short months to bring them all together. How were these new coaches, who themselves had never worked together before, going to get over 100 players to buy in, and get them up to speed before facing Temple, Georgia at home, BC and Michigan State on the road to begin a season? Good luck with that!. And yet, I recall Q calling me after camp at Culver and telling me how much more “great coaching was going on” and how the work ethic and accountability that had been present in the winter workouts and spring ball had manifested itself into the summer.

    Perhaps the greatest transformation of all came from coach Kelly himself. He had told us in that meeting that he had a burning desire to shed the public appearances and fund raising activities that demanded so much of his time and get back to being with his players. To his word, he was there at the Gug for the 4:30 a.m. lifts, had lunch, sometimes dinner with the players and established the types of relationships a coach in search of National Championships needs to have with his players. He had gotten out of the tower and into the trenches to become a coach that his players WANTED to WIN FOR. As Shawn Crawford was quoted as saying during one of the TV broadcasts this season, Coach Kelly had become that same guy who had recruited him in his living room during his in home visit.

    I think the single toughest thing Coach Kelly did was one that, as a former coach, I don’t think I could have even done. How much balls did it take for a coach who is probably on the hottest seat in college football to turn over the play calling, “the keys to the car”, to a new OC that he had never even worked with before. Even IF JS had something to do with that decision as others have speculated, BK still had to check his ego at the door, go with it and damn well do it.

    There are those on this board who are not particularly thrilled with ND going 10-3 from 4-8 and those who still believe that there is a “better man out there to lead ND back to their glory days”. I would ask you WHO?, and don’t give me the Urban Meyer, Nick Saban BS. First of all, Urban flat out told Q that he would “hate South Bend” and that his wife refused to go back and live there and would flat out not let him take the position when it was offered AND neither one of them could or would coach here under the rules, restrictions requirements and standards that are Notre Dame.

    Ironically, it was these very standards, the quality of players, the coaches and Notre Dame itself that made Q think long and hard about staying……

    AGAIN. How do you leave all of your brothers behind and say goodbye to the best Offensive Line Coach in college football (that people on this board and others still question and complain about) How do you thank a man who gave all that he had, did all that he promised and left no stone unturned?

    I think everyone would agree that we got beat by 1 point by a VERY GOOD Georgia team. We were totally not prepared for the environment that was Hard Rock, and leading 20 – 17, we could not overcome 3 turnovers in the fourth quarter vs. Stanford. It’s that simple AND we were that close. Not bad for a team that was in total shambles one year ago.

    I believe that this past season was “just the first coat of paint” and that Notre Dame football is headed in the right direction, led by a man who would be very difficult to replace. Think about this for a moment: How does a leader become a “players coach” while at the very same time demanding far more of his players than EVER BEFORE? This is what occurred, this is something to build on.

    If I had only one last thing to say, it would be to sincerely thank all of the coaches, and teammates that Quenton leaves behind. If I had one more wish, it would be that the fans, readers and posters on this forum stand more firmly behind these very same coaches, and players who work so damn hard and hate to lose even more than you do.

    CAN’T WAIT FOR MICHIGAN…LOVE THEE ALWAYS

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      My turn for brevity Burgundy: You just said it all, brother.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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    2. Ron Burgundy 2 years ago

      the above is a letter from Q’s dad, saw it on another board

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      1. david 2 years ago

        Bruce Gregory is trying to keep up, God bless his cotton socks.

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    3. Damian 2 years ago

      How the players view their coach is important. They have to believe, and in college like their coach to want to put themselves on the line. I obviously have my issues with BK, but there’s no doubt he connected with his players on a much deeper level this year. As a fan, I just want to see ND respected again (which I must admit they are) and the holy grail, be elite again.

      When I see comments by players sometimes it makes me think I ought to just shut my mouth and stop whining. But at the same time, the ole “maybe next year” just gets old. Every year many of us say, well maybe next year will be the year. I just wish, for once, next year would become this year.

      In any event, I’ll continue to root for the Irish. I won’t let BK get in the way of me wishing for a win every game.

      Go Irish!

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    4. david 2 years ago

      And the beat goes on.

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  7. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago

    Harry Hiestand headed to the Bears. Clark Lea promoted to DC. Elston stays as associate head coach, giving him more administrative duties and hopefully a raise.
    I suspect Polian will now become the recruiting co-ordinator replacing Elston. ND will now need a Safeties’ coach and an OL coach. “The only constant is change.”

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    1. southside 2 years ago

      Thank you MTA for the update on latest ND news. I went to Notre Dame Insider(South Bend Tribune) this morning–plenty of info on latest ND news. I think the hiring of Lea as DC and the promotion of Elston to upper level as Co-HC was the best move by Kelly and the doing it asap was imperative–preventing a worse situiation of both leaving. If that happened — things would be in dire straits replacing a DC , a D-line coach and Linebacker coach. These are the guys that coach “trench warfare”–the front 7 on D. The next big news coming up will be soon—whether Coney and Tillery are going to stay put or go to NFL.

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      1. southside 2 years ago

        Another thanks to MTA—Yet posters don’t give a shit — more concerned with their own self input about “the status of ND football.”

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  8. duranko 2 years ago

    Notre Dame defensive tackle recruit Jamion Franklin is donating stem cells to help try to save his Dad’s life.

    Were he never to play a down at Notre Dame, were he never to make a tackle, I would be honored, truly if Jamion allowed me to call him my Notre Dame brother.

    For Jamion, for the biblically oriented among you, is the antonym of “corfam.”

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  9. C-Dog 2 years ago

    The promotion of Lea and of Elston, might just be what they need. I won’t cry about it. The ND culture is unique so promoting from within makes sense.

    Hey on a side note did anyone see the OneFoot Down is promoting 21 Notre Dame championships in light of UCF and the SEC teams? I love it. Why not? I was at the Catholics versus Criminoles in 1993 and no way does FSU deserve it over Notre Dame. Plus FSU went on probation right after that

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    1. david 2 years ago

      Another happy nostalgia consumer.

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    2. southside 2 years ago

      Agree C-Dog. Going “In House” for/keeping Lea and Elston leading 2018 defense is best move.

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      1. david 2 years ago

        Emergency money got approved for the shotgun negotiation….it’s now just getting doled out as damage control instead.
        But you spin it how you like.

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  10. PJ 2 years ago

    We are a bit over reacting about our defense. The VanGorder situation has the fans a but out of sinc. The very first thing that happened after Vangorder was fired was that the defense improved just with simplification. The second thing was a few players began tackling better by wrapping up the runner. One on one tackling improved significantly in 2017. Our speed on defense improved and this included recognition reaction time. Offense improvement always helps the defense. As offense faltered more pressure fell on the defense. We played a very tough schedule. 7 opponents ended up in the top 25 this year. The defense will be even stronger next year as more players are experienced and the defense is no longer brand new. Relax.

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    1. Jeff 2 years ago

      The injury bug did not hit the defense this year like it has in the past. Another reason for the improvement this year.

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  11. duranko 2 years ago

    The board Chicken Littles, including the clerks from FIU went FullTILT SKYFALL when Tony Alford and Kerry Cooks left.

    Then came Autry Denson and Todd Lyght.

    Denson has rebuilt the running back cadre without chasing some of the knuckleheads that Alford was infatuated with.

    Lyght, in the ’16 class performed one of the great DB recruiting coups in ND history, and is a Boykin/Irivin away from duplicating
    that in ’18, after having survived the Van Gorder meltdown in ’17.

    So Clark Lea is now the DC.

    And we will see who the new safety coach is………..

    (We are now interrupted by someone channeling his innner Chicken Little:

    Kelly can’t recruit!
    I hate the uniforms
    Ara never lost and never went 1000 days without beating Purdue and USC
    Mekhi Brown the coach shover and Bama won the NC
    I hate the field
    Holtz never lost
    I hate the scoreboard
    A&M has more esteem (and oil money, thank you, Bum Bright) than ND
    I hate EVERYTHING about ND footballl, but my sadomasochism keeps me here!!!
    Life changes, sports changes! Waah!

    Notre Dame is more interested in graduating players and having quality kids like Student Body President David Robinson
    try to uphold the student-athlete mantra than winning games and satisfying my weak ego!) Notre Dame would rather populate its
    program with former players like Denson, Lyght, Grimes, Powlus and Brooks than in bringin scum like Kiffin and Locksley!

    Woe is me! I want championships and nobody is paying attention! Waah!)

    And this concludes our channeling of the board chicken littles including the clerk from FIU!

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    1. david 2 years ago

      Graduation. The moral high ground deflection in any debate on the utter suckitude of ND football.

      BTW….where’s the website messageboard for 24/7 coverage of ND graduation news?

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      1. C-Dog 2 years ago

        Man Up dude and tell isn’t whether you are a fan or a troll and who you actually root for.
        Otherwise you’ll get destroyed and humiliated like all the trolls before you.
        Man up and you might get a little respect.
        With all your criticisms of everyone else, why are you here?

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      2. George 2 years ago

        I was wondering the same thing. Where are the chemistry experiment updates?

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      3. david 2 years ago

        I’m sick of bad football at ND and want it to improve. My fan support is worth more and deserves more than this joke of a product.

        Chanting slogans in a horde of reality-denying lobotomy victims is pathetic. IMO.

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      4. C-Dog 2 years ago

        David,
        Not sure how old you are, but don’t think for a moment that the rest don’t want Notre Dame competing for and winning national championships.
        By coming on this site and pissing on everyone does not more good than what seems to be making you angry in the first
        Place. It only makes you look like an immature fool and a jackass.
        It also calls into question whether you understand what Notre Dame is about. Why it was formed as a University back in 1843 and why the football team can only win in a manner honoring both the original intent of the University and as a response to the struggles of Irish Catholics in America from the 1850s well into the 20th century.

        If it’s just about a football team the go chear for the Tide. We who are true Notre Dame fans and alums know it’s much more.

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      5. david 2 years ago

        C-Dog: Read the over-the-top bile that gets posted on these boards after ND loses a game. I don’t recall, but there’s probably some of it posted by you.

        So don’t try to present this “We’re better and more loyal than you” BS. Y’all just have the memories and self-awareness of squirrels.
        And the ND bookstore appreciates it very, very much.

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      6. C-Dog 2 years ago

        David,
        The difference between the comments made by most of the folks on this board is that they have substance. You’ve just jumped on here recently with personal insulting rants. Most have identified whether they are alums or fans or smongnthe old timers, subway alums. You’ve offered no information to let folks understand where your anger and hatred comes from.
        This is not a trailer trash flame board. The folks here while differing in opinion for the most part have brains and also since most are a bit older have a sense of modicum. Coming in out of the rain with your anger, lack of clarity and lack of purpose really set you up for ridicule.
        Seriously would you walk into a bar for the first time and start screaming personal insults and total strangers? I guess you would if you wanted the bar patrons to turn you into a waffle. But it’s not too intelligent.
        So I ask again can you man up and explain where your anger toward Notre Dame and it’s fans comes from. Why would you be a fan of a team that you seem to also hate and whose fans you seem to wish such I’ll will toward. Your posts spew hate not merely criticism.
        Espn has great boards to spew hate and vent for people whose lives didn’t work out too well. This isn’t that type of site. If you can’t differentiate between critique and hate please just leave us alone.

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      7. david 2 years ago

        I said it before, and I’ll say it again: No one is forcing you to read my posts. So don’t.
        And instead of being the self-appointed opinion censor, let other, free people make up their own minds to either read or not read them, to agree or to disagree with them.

        If you were really comfortable and secure in your opinions, why do you even care about mine? Do you think you’re protecting little Brian Kelly’s feelings?
        It upsets you that I make valid points. You just can’t admit it, and want to suppress them.

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      8. david 2 years ago

        And BTW C Dog…whenever you feel an episode of “ND superfan superiority” coming on, recall this little nugget you posted in this very discussion thread: “I (you) don’t see Notre Dame winning another National Championship.”

        What selective hypocrisy directed against me.
        And no wonder you stand up for Brian Kelly. Being a fraud hits close to home.

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      9. C-Dog 2 years ago

        David,
        I don’t see Notre Dame winning a National Championship. I think it’s too hard in today’s corrupt NCAA environment. It’s too hard to do it and stay Notre Dame. But you are probably too young or too ignorant to understand that.
        And I’m not trying to censor your opinions. I’m just pointing not that this board is for fans who really understand Notre Dame and it’s history. It’s not meant for trolls who really root for other teams. And you come off like a troll from, USC, or Purdue, etc. You sure don’t sound like someone who knows anything about the University.
        And again I never said you shouldn’t be allowed to post. I just pointed out that now most people who see your ID on here know you to be a fool. Possibly some young punk and one who is of that culture that thinks flaming everyone from his keyboard is fine. I’m 51 and I think what you have written here reflects a foolish immature and troubled mind. Go get help David.

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  12. Ron Burgundy 2 years ago

    Strangest boycott ever, amirite.

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  13. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

    Southside et al: See the bottom post on this page. I failed you guys on Duranko ID. Sorry.
    Thanks for clearing it up.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. duranko 2 years ago

      Bruce, I am at fault here as I ought have clarified this earlier.

      Well, I sort of did but it was about a decade ago.

      I always loved Pete Duranko, and well, when he met Johnny Ray it was like Stanley and Livingstone, Jobs and Wozniak, Gates and Allen, Bogart and Bacall, Leahy and Rockne (one of my favorite things about Frank Leahy, and this has been confirmed by Fred Leahy, is that he shrank from being mentioned in the same breath as Rock). Duranko was probably my favorite ND player, though, in my
      observation, Ross Browner was the best. (I share Southside’s predilection for the defensive side of the ball).

      About a decade ago, somebody challenged me on using the duranko name. Well, I thought that was a more than fair challenge,
      and I put it to a sort of board plebiscite, and the overwhelming consensus, in that particular moment was that the tribute toduranko outweighed either the potential blasphemy or confusion. And, Bruce, I’m being as serious as a heart attack here.

      One more note about Pete Duranko. I LOVE the fact that he was from Johnstown.

      He was both of a favored ethnic nation (Lujack and Hart, surprisingly, were both Polish) and from a sooty industrial town
      that, sort of resonated with my own roots.

      Now as I reread the posts below, you mentioned that your dad, the master, inter alii of standard deviation, outliers, and much, much more, contended that ’66 was the best team he’d seen. I agree with that.

      But Board legend Bob Drake contends, and he was an eyewitness, that ’47 was the best team.

      Even though a fac brat Greg, you know Notre Dame’s principles.

      Bama, as documented by one of the board know-nothings, won the championship.
      But Mekhi Brown’s physical attack on a Alabama staffer.

      That simply would not happened at Notre Dame.

      In ’66, ’73, ’77 and ’88 we won with ND guys, not Mekhi Brown.

      For, after all, what doth it profit a man if he gain the world, or, give or take, a national championship, and lose his soul.

      Notwithstanding, Bruce, and to reset the tone appropriately, I stand by the identity, disturbing or not! of the love child of Fat Eddy and Fat Shirley.

      Go Irish!

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        It’s good with me, Duranko. It actually seems like you’ve done a pretty good job memorializing PD.
        As for Chunkie Charlie, I think you properly memorialized him as well. (And I think my father would agree with that as well!)

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      2. C-Dog 2 years ago

        Duranko,
        I have some mixed feelings about the so called honoring. My connections to Notre Dame go both deep,(4 generations) and bros (over 40 extended relatives attended) indeed I have 4 close family memebers who have been employed by the company noversity over the years. A father who helped Leon Hart with his engineering studies. A grandfather who was registrar and was around the University between 1918 and 1940 when he was recalled to active duty. That same grandfather had father Cavaugh give the eulogy at his funeral in 1946.
        We are so ingrained in my family that we talk about things we know are right and things that aren’t at all levels of the University.
        But we don’t often advertise outside the family. And we remain hopeful that in all things the university will live up to its charter. We do not drink the cool aid. We’d like to but we are realistic and critical. We do not hold anyone on a pedestal.
        What I enjoyed as a senior in the 1988 season wasn’t just winning but winning the right way. I don’t beat it over anyone’s head to drink the cool aid. But I also will defend against angry folks like David to understand that the mission is larger than just winning. What do you have to say about Notre Dame’s historic mission. ?

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      3. duranko 2 years ago

        C dog, I will respond to your post in some degree of detail and be open to agreement, disagreement, refinement, whatever.

        The sticking point is that I’m in the middle of a project right now and it will not be completed until late Saturday.

        But rest assured I will respond, to this message and any follow up.

        Let me say from the beginning, that when it came to ND, I was a, “well,” dreamer. You and your predecessors have the pedigree and the steeping in tradition and its nuance.

        I do not.

        God bless.

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  14. Damian 2 years ago

    I think C-Dog brings up some interesting points. First, fans have to ask themselves, how far do fans want ND to prostrate themselves to the football gods to be elite. Are academics and a certain discipline culture necessary or do we want ND to sell their sole to the devil? We all know what goes on at some of the power 5 schools, the fake me out majors and courses, the look the other way culture, the “extra” help to meet minimum standards. Do we want to see ND go down that road for a quick fix?

    Now it’s not necessarily either or. ND gets good enough recruits to compete, still, I believe. We lag in the 5 star recruits sometimes because ND won’t take just anyone. I think ND can expand their horizons a bit by taking some on the fence recruits and working a little extra hard with them, the right way that is, to make sure they make the cut.

    I also still believe ND has a coaching issue. BK is not an elite coach. He’s had 8 years to prove it and he’s fallen short. It’s just not there for him. For Cincinatti, Purdue, or any schools like that, they’d be thrilled to have him. He can get you winning seasons, good bowl games for those programs and so forth. But NC’s? No. I think he’s reached as high as he can.

    But if all that’s fixed, we get a really good coach and it still doesn’t work, do I want to see ND take that next step to just being a football factory, or an NFL minor league team? No. I can’t say that I do. Part of the reason I’m an Irish fan is they do stress academics. They expect a certain level of discipline from the players. If they gave that up to be just like the schools down south, I’m not interested. That’s a road I’m not willing to travel. But I don’t think they’re at that point yet. There are still adjustments that can be made. They’ve come close, close enough that it’s still possible for them. That is unless the administrators are satisfied with 9 and 10 win seasons and are satisfied with the status quo, which I fear is what may be the case.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      Damian, It was either Duranko or Michael the Archangel who asked the same thing a few sheets ago…”when should we start having the discussion about going down that road just to remain competitive at the very top?” I think you may hear it when BK leaves and before a new head coach is hired. But it’s not up to me, that’s for sure. That will happen on campus behind closed doors…maybe on the 13th Floor or somewhere like that!

      BGC ’77 ’82

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  15. southside 2 years ago

    BGC , you have South Side blood in you. When did your Dad leave Beverly neighborhood ? My family lived east a few neighborhoods over in St.Joachim’s parish. Where did your Dad attend high school ? My Dad went to DeLaSalle. We all left during the “white flight” to the south suburbs in 1950’s. However , Beverly residents stayed with their roots—and the predominately Irish neighborhood became famous for it’s unique historic houses and the “Castle” on Longwood–resemembling an Irish Castle from the Ould Sod. After moving away –my brothers, friends still attended the St. Patricks South Side Irish parade held in Beverly. This was the real deal –not the St. Patricks parade in downtown Chicago. Beverely was/is still the place where Chicago politicians , Police and Fire dept. employees live.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      Dad went to Morgan Park. My grandparents lived on the same side of the street as Givens castle (West), but across the street and down about a block or so in a huge Tudor revival style mansion. My uncle Art (God rest his soul) played chess with the kid of the second (or third) owners of that castle (in the castle)! I always thought that was awesome. Art also was a WWII marine…served as a forward radio operator at Iwo Jima. Dad (and Mom, who is still alive were St. Barnabus people…they met at a church dance there…I was christened there).

      My father never graduated from HS…he dropped out as a junior at 17 to enlist in the Marines in 1943. I don,t know when they moved out of that Tudor, probably when my great grandfather died in the early 50’s…but Mimi Callahan Curme, my grandmother, and Emmitt Gilbert Curme, my uncle and also a WWII marine, wounded at Tarawa, lived the rest of there lives in Beverley.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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